Essex secure dramatic win over Lancashire


Lancashire v Essex

LV= Insurance County Championship
Stanley Park, Blackpool Cricket Club


Team News:

Essex: Nick Browne, Alastair Cook, Tom Westley (c), Dan Lawrence, Matt Critchley, Paul Walter, Simon Harmer, Will Buttleman (wk), Doug Bracewell, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter.

Lancashire: Keaton Jennings (c), Luke Wells, Josh Bohannon, Dane Vilas, Rob Jones, Phil Salt (wk), Colin de Grandhome, Tom Hartley, Jake Blatherwick, Tom Bailey, Will Williams.

Match Details:

Umpires: Peter Hartley and Steve O’Shauhnessy
Match Referee: Will Smith
Toss: Essex won the toss and elected to bat
Result: Essex won by 43 runs

Scorecard: View Here

Day Four Highlights:

Day Four Reaction: Tom Westley

“It’s an unbelievable win – because the points for the draw have been taken away we did expect them to keep going for the win for a long time and testament to them they did – even when (Tom) Bailey came out they were looking to hit boundaries. Credit to them for wanting to force the win.

“It was an outstanding team performance from Essex and it puts us in a nice position with five games to go.

“We’ve been blessed for a number of years now that Simon Harmer will take six or seven wicket in the fourth innings but he didn’t take one today and that’s the way it goes sometimes so for the other lads to stick their hands up and chip in with wickets is outstanding.

“Lancashire are a very good team and we know how dangerous they are – we’ve had some great matches with them in recent times so it’s a huge win for the Club.”

Day Four Report:

A battling century from Lancashire’s Rob Jones took his side to within 47 runs off pulling off a record-breaking run chase against victors Essex on a thrilling final day of this LV= Insurance County Championship Division One clash at Blackpool.

An overnight declaration from the visitors on 292 for eight left Lancashire requiring an unlikely 430 runs to win – their highest ever to win a county game and a considerable improvement on their first innings total of just 145.

As it was, Jones’ brilliant 111 along with half-centuries from Luke Wells and Josh Bohannon, made for an enthralling contest in which all results were possible going into the last hour and which ended with Essex fielders crowded around the bat as Lancashire finally succumbed with 11 balls to go when a heartbroken Jones edged Doug Bracewell to Dan Lawrence.

In a game where opening batters had struggled, Keaton Jennings and Wells got Lancashire off to an encouraging start with Wells quickly shrugging off the burden of being on a pair with an attacking knock that had the Lancashire support dreaming of the Red Rose’s biggest ever fourth innings chase.

Taking the attack to Simon Harmer, Wells swept the South African for six, and laid down a template for what became a near perfect morning session for the hosts in which Jennings was the only wicket to fall, caught spectacularly one-handed by wicketkeeper William Buttleman off Bracewell for 30.

At lunch and with excitement growing around this beautiful ground, the hosts were 140 for one with Wells going nicely on 69 not out and Bohannon unbeaten on 32.

Record books were checked and we began again after lunch as the game titled back towards Essex with Wells only able to add six more runs before he reverse swept Matt Critchley into the hands of a diving Paul Walter.

Two down quickly became three down with the horribly out of form Dane Vilas completing a pair in the match when he walked all around a Critchley wrong ‘un to give the Lancashire-born all-rounder two in the over and leave the home side 155 for three.

Jones joined Bohannon in the middle for what felt like a pivotal partnership and so it proved as the pair not only staged a recovery but also upped the run rate and took the attack to Essex before the latter was caught pulling by Porter off Walter for a well-made 68 that included three sixes.

The incoming Phil Salt took over as he and Jones continued the run-chase with a degree of calm urgency that belied the situation. Jones, so often a bit-part player in Lancashire’s four day side, rose to the occasion, playing the situation perfectly as the fifth wicket pair constructed a crucial partnership of 85.

Critchley was beginning to make a difference bowling round the wicket into the rough from the North End and Salt became his third victim when he top-edged to Sam Cook on the fine leg boundary for 41 to make it 279 for five.

Colin de Grandhomme came and went for just nine after hooking Walter to Porter while Tom Hartley hung around long enough to hit 17 and further raise hopes of improbable victory before he edged Cook to Buttleman.

While Jones remained so did the chance of a win but with Jack Blatherwick and Tom Bailey adding just nine runs between them the situation suddenly worsened especially when the latter fell to a brilliant diving catch in the deep by Harmer off Bracewell with 54 runs still needed and just one wicket required for an Essex win.

For the first time throughout the day Lancashire finally dug in as Jones and a steadfast Will Williams battled to see out the remaining 44 balls with the final stand ending in the penultimate over as Essex clinched a last-gasp 46 run victory through Bracewell who ended with three for 50.

Day Three Highlights:

Day Three Report:

A century for Dan Lawrence and a disastrous morning session for the hosts in which Lancashire lost eight wickets for 45 runs put Essex in complete control at the end of the third day of this LV=Insurance County Championship Division One game at Blackpool.

Resuming on 37 for one after a 45 minute delay for rain and replying to Essex’s first innings total of 282, the Red Rose’s hopes of batting all day and building a lead were scuppered by Sam Cook and Paul Walter who took four for 42 and three for 20 respectively as Lancashire crumbled to 145 all out.

Will Williams’ removal of both Essex openers, including Sir Alistair Cook, without scoring, did give Lancashire a glimmer of hope as the southern outfit began their second innings, but the visitors rallied superbly and brutally to close on 292 for eight with a lead of 429 runs going into the final day thanks to a brilliant century from Lawrence who was out to the last ball of the day for 135 having scored eight fours and nine sixes.

It was Cook who sparked the collapse when he induced Lancashire skipper Keaton Jennings to edge to Matt Critchley for 29 and 76 for two quickly became 76 for three when Dane Vilas failed to make ground running for a quick single and was out without scoring.

Rob Jones wafted at a wide one from Doug Bracewell before the introduction of the giant Walter brought the key wicket of Josh Bohannon who was pouched by a well-placed Simon Harmer at leg slip for 44.

There was still time just before lunch to see the back of Colin de Grandhomme, trapped in front second ball by Cook, Tom Hartley, well caught at slip by Sir Alistair Cook first ball, and Jack Blatherwick, lbw to Walter, again without scoring.

Suddenly Lancashire had lost four wickets for two runs and any thought of a lead or even parity had gone out the window with Essex pondering an unlikely following on invitation as the players departed for the interval.

While the carnage occurred at the other end Phil Salt was acquitting himself well and together with Tom Bailey, the wicketkeeper, who finished unbeaten on 35, managed to get Lancashire beyond the follow on target but only just as Cook took the wickets of Will Williams and Bailey to dismiss the hosts for 145.

A lead of 137 ensured Essex were in total command but a degree of jeopardy was introduced when first Nick Browne and then Sir Alistair Cook departed without scoring, quickly followed by skipper Tom Westley who became Williams’ second wicket of the innings as the visitors were reduced to 27 for three.

Quick runs were needed and Lawrence and Critchley obliged as the fourth wicket pair put on 95 runs before the latter was bowled sweeping by Hartley for 40.

Walter swung the bat for his 24 before he fell to Bailey with Harmer becoming the seamer’s third wicket when he was brilliantly caught one-handed by Jennings for four.

Hartley picked up another with William Buttleman lbw for four and it was left to Bracewell, who hit a very effective half-century of his own off just 29 balls, to safely usher Lawrence to his third century of the season which the England hopeful brought up with a towering six over long on.

With the brakes off and a demoralised Lancashire on the metaphorical canvas, Lawrence proceeded to hit four more sixes, taking Essex to an unassailable lead while sending a timely message to the England selectors.

Day Two Highlights:

Day Two Report:

Tom Westley’s 28th first-class century and his record-breaking century partnership with Paul Walter rescued Essex from a poor start on the second day of this LV= Insurance County Championship encounter at Blackpool before a late fight back by Lancashire saw the visitors bowled out for 282.

Skipper Westley made 135, his third century of the season, to put Essex in a strong position at tea but Tom Bailey, with six for 59, led a good reply by the hosts who closed on 37 for one to be behind by 245 runs.

A day played mainly in glorious sunshine, in sharp contrast to the wet conditions twenty-fours earlier, began with Lancashire enjoying the better of the opening hour as Essex, resuming on 12 for one, lost three wickets for 35 runs.<

Two fine opening spells from Bailey and Will Williams had the visitors in early trouble, starting when Alastair Cook was caught for 11 edging Williams to Keaton Jennings at first slip.

Bailey then had Dan Lawrence dropped at slip, but caught for one from the following delivery in bizarre circumstances. The Essex batter’s fierce drive flew straight back at the bowler who inadvertently deflected the ball to Bohannon at mid-off.

Having made 13, Matt Critchley became the third wicket of the day to fall, when he edged a beautiful seaming delivery from Williams to wicketkeeper Phil Salt to put the hosts firmly on top.

Westley and Walter slowly but surely turned the innings around either side of lunch with Walter hammering two sixes off left arm spinner Hartley in the last over before the interval.

The pair dominated the afternoon, Westley reaching his fifty with a sweetly timed on drive for four just after the resumption, and he produced some stylish shots across the session to reach his third century of the season from 166 balls, with his 15th four also breaking the Essex fifth wicket record partnership of 147 against Lancashire – set coincidentally at Blackpool – by Sonny Avery and Tom Pearce in 1948.

The only blemish of a fine innings came when Westley was on 78, with Hartley unable to cling to a sharp chance at midwicket off Colin de Grandhomme.

Walter went to his 80-ball half century in style, pulling Jack Blatherwick over midwicket for his third six. His crisp striking of the ball was a feature of his controlled, slightly more aggressive approach that had brought the left-hander 76 runs before he was spectacularly caught one-handed by Blatherwick at midwicket off de Grandhomme just before tea with Essex 210 for five.

Essex continued to prosper after the break as Simon Harmer (24) lent good support to Westley with 65 runs added for the sixth wicket before Lancashire hit back with the second new ball, taking the last five wickets for seven runs inside seven overs.

Westley’s excellent innings came to an end after five and a half hours at the crease when he edged Williams to Rob Jones at second slip and Bailey then ran through the tail, taking the remaining four wickets in 20 balls.

Lancashire lost Luke Wells for a duck, playing on against Jamie Porter but Jennings (13 not out) and Josh Bohannon (20 not out) survived to reach stumps safely.

Day One Highlights:

Day One Report:

The first day of Lancashire’s match with second-placed Essex in the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Blackpool was badly affected by the weather with just 28 balls possible in which time Essex made 12 for one.

Both teams came into the fixture with enforced changes, Essex opener Feroze Khushi having sustained a sore hand last week in the Vitality Blast while Lancashire rested Daryl Mitchell to help the overseas all-rounder manage a groin issue.

The day was split into two short tranches of play that book-ended this unusual day.

After a misleadingly sunny morning, Essex won the toss and elected to bat under increasingly gloomy skies, a mood probably shared by Nick Browne after he edged the fourth delivery of the day from Tom Bailey to Colin de Grandhomme at third slip without a run on the board.

In the 25 balls bowled in the morning there was time for Alastair Cook to punch a four off the back foot from Will Williams and Essex skipper Tom Westley to glance Bailey to fine leg for four off the first ball of the fifth over.

At that point the rain arrived to take the players from the field for more than six hours, and it was a testament to the Blackpool club that their outfield, re-laid three years ago, coped admirably with the deluge that fell during the day.

That allowed umpires Peter Hartley and Steve O’Shaughnessy to restart play at 5.30pm following several inspections, but only three balls had been bowled in Bailey’s interrupted over before bad light halted play once again, with more rain minutes later ending a very frustrating day.

Cook (4 not out) and Westley (8 not out) will resume the Essex first innings tomorrow.